Review: Cheese Pizza Slice from Sbarro

I’m not from New York, but I understand. I understand the contempt they have for New York style pizza that doesn’t meet their standards. They do, after all, make a damn good pie. When I think of New York, one of the first things that comes to mind is Times Square. Go to Times Square or just watch something filmed there and one of the first things that catches your eye is a giant neon sign that reads “Sbarro”, a mall and airport chain that serves NY style pizza. Ask any New Yorker (I have), and they will ramble on about what an outrage it is that a Sbarro is even there to begin with. Is it really that bad or are they just being snobby locals? Considering I haven’t had a slice from Sbarro since about 1997, I figured I would check it out myself at my local mall food court.

Yes, it is pretty bad. I’m a purist when it comes to pizza and if you can make a good cheese pie, you have passed my test. Let’s start at the bottom. The crust was terrible. Under-fermented and under-cooked. No yeasty goodness here. It honestly tasted like fresh raw dough and it overpowered the rest of the ingredients.

If you told me the cheese was fake, I wouldn’t be at all surprised. It tasted like nothing and had no pull or stretch whatsoever. Even though the big three chains don’t use the best cheese, their cheese is at the very least, salty. The sauce would have been great… about two years ago. I’m not saying it had been left out for that long, but that it seemed like it was canned years ago. It was bright, acidic, and not fresh tasting. What little I could taste anyway. It was like having your favorite song come on the radio and listening to it with the volume turned almost completely down. I’m pretty sure at some point long ago, this sauce was great. Mary Tyler Moore was really hot long ago, but I wouldn’t want to… you get the idea. The price was insane as well; almost $4.00 after tax. I will pay just about anything for flavor, but serve me crap and I cry shenanigans. If Ryan would let me, this review would consist of a picture and a one word review saying “boooo!”. Can you throw a tomato at a restaurant chain?

I’m sure some of you will think I’m being overly negative. Maybe so. Just know this review came from someone who not only loves Taco Bell, but thought Ryan underrated the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. I loathe Pizza Hut, but would gladly recommend it to anyone over Sbarro. Hell, grab a frozen Tombstone pie from your local supermarket and you will be in heaven compared to this. Actually, a Tombstone, cheap beer and a movie sounds like nirvana to me. Do that.

While researching this piece, I noticed that the further away someone is from New York, the more they seem like Sbarro.  According to locals in their respective countries (The Philippines and India), Sbarro rocks. What does that mean? I have no clue, but I do know that while eating this slice, all I could think about was how within about one square mile of the Sbarro I was visited, there were three places where I could get a quality NY style pie. I live in Virginia. Virginia has better NY pizza than Times Square. Just think about that for a minute. Yes, you are snobby local New Yorkers, but I’ll be damned if you aren’t right.

Pros: The Dick Van Dyke Show. Indian food. The Simpsons. A soft but firm back rub. Yes, I am just saying random things I enjoy to fill space.

Cons: Having to write about crappy food. If I bought the whole pizza slice by slice it would cost about 24 bucks. The thought of setting 24 bucks on fire.

Taste: 3.00/10
Value: 2.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: 3.29 cheese slice

Overall GrubGrade: 3.75/10

More Info: Sbarro.com
Nutrition Facts:
Info Not Available- Nutrition Page Under Construction

34 comments on “Review: Cheese Pizza Slice from Sbarro

  1. Ryan says:

    Michael Scott Quote: The meeting isn’t ’til three, but I always like to come to New York little bit early and hit some of my favorite hunts, like right here, is my favorite New York pizza joint. And I’m gonna go get me a New York slice. (Walks towards Sbarro in Times Square)

    Michael Scott Quote: Here it is, heart of New York City, Times Square. Named for the good times you have when you’re in it. Most people when they come to New York, they go straight to the Empire State Building, that’s pretty touristy. I come here. Great places to eat. We have Bubba Gump Shrimp, Red Lobster down there. Ya know. This is, this is the heart of civilization, right here.

  2. Manavee says:

    This site just hit rock bottom.

    The good news is that there is nowhere to go but up from here.

  3. Raiders757 says:

    I can’t say I’m a fan of Sbarro’s pizza either. I’ll also add Villa Pizza to the list of crappy “mall pizza”. Both are too expensive, and both have no flavor.

    We have several NY style pizza shops in my part of Va., and most of them are run by native New Yorkers. A few of them have been around for forty years, and put out a pie that rivals those made in New York. Several of them should have closed shop long ago though, as they’re committing fraud by putting New York in their name(Gus’s New York Pizza comes to mind). I have yet to find a better pie outside of the NYC area than my childhood favorite, Dino’s. I’ve been eating there since the 70′s, and love their tasty sauce and perfect crust.

  4. Adam says:

    Have you guys ever had Mama Illardo’s pizza? They have a place in BWI and Union Station. May be closer to Sbarro than real NY pizza, but because of the pizza cognition theory, I love it.

  5. SkippyMom says:

    You must have a pretty suck heiny Sbarro where you live because that pizza looks anemic. The upskirt and cheese looks so much better on ours and although not NYC pizza, it is still a nice substitute for not being in NYC.

    Ours has the nice and darkened bottom, with the grease just sliding off the top. And the sauce isn’t too sweet.

    Sorry it was a bad experience, but for someone who doesn’t like a lot of types of pizza [me!] our local Sbarro’s is pretty rocking. And it is always fresh. Yours doesn’t look fresh at all.

    • Robert says:

      I think their thin cheese (like it’s pictured) is terrible. Their pan sausage, when fresh, is NOT shabby. The sausage is very flavorful and the crust is flaky-crunchy. Color me surprised.

  6. larry says:

    I stay away from their pizza and pasta but when I’m near a sbarros and hungry, you can’t go wrong with their vegetable medley. I’m a sucker for sauteed and lightly seasoned broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc that retains some nice crunch and flavor and sbarro tends to get that right 90% of the time. Grab a big bowl and that’s some pretty good eating.

    I’m a fan of Grimaldis – give them a try next time you’re in town.

  7. Mike N says:

    I think it’s been even before 1997 that I’ve been to Sbarro. It always reminds me of the place the girls in Fast Times at Ridgemont High worked at the mall. Fortunately the mall I haunted back in the day [which is sadly now a dead mall] had a place called First Federal Frank & Crust which had pretty darned good slices, at least for a high schoolers pallate.

  8. NC says:

    I think you just hit a bad Sbarros restaurant. My husband and I were scouting for someplace to eat, while shopping one day. I was drawn in by their stromboli and he saw a stuffed pizza he wanted to try. The stromboli was just decadent. It had good cheese (stretchy and flavorful) and I used a bit of sauce on the side which was just as good. He thoroughly enjoyed his stuffed pizza.

    I have craved a Sbarros stromboli since I have been there.

  9. Mike F. says:

    The reason why people from foreign countries love Sbarro so much is because they don’t have any good pizza places there, probably = (

  10. Chefprotoss says:

    There is one in Union Station? Hmm…

  11. Nick says:

    SBarro is usually hit or miss. I avoid it because, as you mentioned, the prices are ridiculous.

  12. rob says:

    I like Sbarro but you have to eyeball the pizza and only get a slice from a pizza that looks good, not all of them are good.

    If you just pick a slice at random then there is a good chance you will get a less than optimal slice of pizza.

    • Raiders757 says:

      If a pizza place is truly good, one wouldn’t have to “eyeball the pizza”, every pizza that comes out of the oven is good.

  13. Mattitude says:

    I would rather eat a dirty diaper than eat Sbarro

  14. DCWatergateGuy says:

    Honestly the only time I ever eat at Sbarro is when i’m on a connecting flight and it happens to be either the closest or least busy option. Having said that i’ve always left thinking “This place is actually pretty good, I should try them out for real some time.” And then I never do…

  15. somesteve says:

    sbarro is flat out awful pizza.

  16. Ali says:

    This reminded me of a great Slate article from a couple months ago. Pretty much the same conclusions drawn: http://www.slate.com/id/2293006/

  17. Thomas says:

    There is a Sbarro in my Campus Union, but I can never force myself into buying a slice. It is just too expensive for a single slice. I know I used to enjoy them when my mom got me a slice as a kid. So I always want to, but dang $4+ for one slice is just too much when there are plenty of other places to eat for less.

  18. Nick says:

    Sbarro’s was one of the only choices on the PA turnpike when I was a truck driver. Ordering a slice was just as you described.

    The trick is to order a whole pizza well done, so they have to make it to order. A whole pie cost me maybe $13 compared to $3 for a slice. It’s damn good then. Much, much better than any of the other chains.

  19. Francois says:

    I’ve only had Sbarro’s pizza at an airport in Canada and it must not have been at all impressionable, because I just vaguely remember buying and eating it. On the other hand, I probably had a few double vodka and crans in my system already.

  20. Robby says:

    Sbarro is really good! The pepperoni pizza is the best!

  21. Charlotte says:

    So you’re into Mary Tyler Moore types, huh?

  22. Natalie says:

    I used to love going to Sbarro at the mall food court when I was a kid..I could get a slice of pizza the size of my face..why wouldn’t a kid love it?

    We have Villa Pizza at the mall where I live now. It’s pretty bad.

  23. [...] hard to believe Sbarro is still in business because I know a lot of people who say SbarNo to Sbarro. (via Grub [...]

  24. jesika lin says:

    yeah, this stuff is awful, and im about the least picky person ever. i mean, i like little caesars $5 pizza. its about ten times better than sbarro. i know i used to like their baked ziti and breadsticks when i was little, i havent given those a second try recently, as i try to stay far, far away from the mall food court.

  25. [...] of the pretzel weaving Auntie Anne’s employee be paired next to the oily sheen atop a Sbarro pizza?What are your favorite mall food court stops, and will you be heading out to hunt the deals on [...]

  26. Obbop says:

    Atop the Ozark Plateau I know of one Sbarro outlet and it is huddled within the one local mall.

    I have passed by the outlet and looked upon its, to me, high-priced offerings with disdain.

    The numerous pizza-types awaiting individual slice orders did not draw me in.

    Likely never will.

    Heck, the local budget strip mall cici’s piza joint where there buffet offering several budget pizza types is a mere $2.99 for all you can shovel in (with a minute salad bar) calls out to me louder (though I have only entered Cici’s twice, mainly out of curiosity).

    I DO stop at the relentless offerings from the two mall-present CHinese-food cubby holes to grab the bitelets pierced by a tooth pick the workers of said outlets stand among the passing human horde with their free small samples.

    I bow and thank the offerers profusely and inform them their generous offerings are often the only mid-day meal this Disgruntled Old Coot can obtain due to the long-term unemployment caused by physical impairment and the hiring bias against the elderly.

  27. [...] grabbing at least one slice from a couple of different locations.  And no I will not be hitting up Sbarro at Times Square.Tags: New York Pizza, Numero 28 Pizza, Pizza, Pizza By The SliceLeave a Reply Click here to cancel [...]

  28. [...] story), not being able to find what I want, and to top it off, the food is utterly awful. While eating at Sbarro, I noticed Great Steak on the other side of the food court. I love a great cheesesteak and thought [...]

  29. William Dumke says:

    I’m from NY and I can tell you with total certainty you just don’t know what your talking about.
    Sure Sbarro isn’t as good as your top NY pizza parlors but it’s not bad. In fact as far as fast food type chains go it cant be beat!

    I guess readers should keep things in perspective and realize this review was written buy someone that thinks Quarter pounders, pizza hut and taco bell are good food!

    And for the idiot that thinks little caesars is 10 times better is nuts. You couldn’t force a New Yorker to eat little caesars at gunpoint!